Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Favs Friday - Books Edition & Guest Post

Hello Friends. Today, I'm super excited to have my friend Linda join me & share her Five Fav Books. We first met almost a year ago during Reverb10 & have been friends ever since - even becoming pen pals.  I knew that she would be a perfect fit for this topic because of her fabulous book reviews & because of our shared love of reading. Thanks Linda for agreeing to this - I really appreciate it! And please share your fav books in the comments. I'm always on the look-out for new reads. 

Photo Credit
Hi there! I'm Linda and I blog over at Curious Notions and vlog in collaboration at Totes Awesome Channel. I make a reading related resolution each year. This year, I resolved to read 40 books by the end of 2011. I'm currently at 35 books and you can see the listing of books here. When Danielle invited me to do a guest post for her 5 Fav Fri series and gave me the theme of books, I immediately thought I should make it easier on myself and limit it to just the books I've read this year. Thus, I leave you a list of my 5 Fave Reads from 2011 (thus far.)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: I loved this book, a biography of the life of both Henrieta Lacks and the immortal life of her cells. A true story that needed to be told. It's about an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks who was treated at John Hopkins Hospital during the 1950s for cervical cancer. Unknown to her and her family, the hospital took live cancer cells from her cervix and it became the first immortal line of cells still grown today for research. This is the story of her life and the life of her cells and what happened to her family after her death. Not only is the story gripping, it satisfied a long time interest of mine in bioethics.

Polysyllabic Spree: "I suddenly had a little epiphany: all the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal." - Nick Hornby, Polysyllabic Spree. This is the first of three compilations of Nick Hornby's (author of High Fidelity, An Education, and About a Boy) monthly column about reading. Every month he lists out books he bought and then books he read. He then opines about his reading. Such a simple concept but his humor will not only make you laugh out loud, but also search for the nearest person so you could read to them his funny snippet. You can read some snippets I pulled from his first collection (I loved all three) here, a book review I posted on my blog.

Garlic and Sapphires: In Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl, famous food critic and editor, chronicles her tenure as food critic for The New York Times. It was a hilarious read as she shared stories of all her disguises used to dine at restaurants anonymously. As someone who loves to write about food, this was also a source of inspiration for me.

The Hunger Games: I have a personal bias against fantasy. I have a long history of having trouble suspending disbelief. I've been tentatively dipping my toes into the genre the last couple of years, so when Ashely offered to send me The Hunger Games series, I was excited! I've heard so much about it and from what I could tell, there were no magic (yuck), dragons (yuck), or wizards (yuck)! To my pleasant surprised, I was completely hooked and had trouble putting down the first and second books of this three book series. I'm currently in the middle of the third. Suspenseful! I can't wait to finish the third book and see the movie next year.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: I've had this book on my to-read list for a long time. What finally pushed me was one of the Nick Hornby books I mentioned citing this book as one of the best books he has read capturing what it's like to be autistic. (Nick Hornby's son is autistic.) The story is engaging and the autistic teen narrator really just charms you deeply. My heart was so warm reading this book. I highly, highly recommend it.

What are some of your favorite books you've read this year?
Thank you for the opportunity!

Thanks Linda for those great recommendations! And now for my list. I also decided to pick my favs from this year too:

The Last Town On Earth: This was so beautifully written first & foremost. The excellent story was a plus. It is set during the 1918 flu epidemic & is about the ramifications of a town that completely quarantines itself in order to stave off the threat. Besides the flu, America is involved in a war & tensions are high as people are divided & question each other's patriotism/loyalty. This story was inspired by a little known fact of an actual town that did isolate itself & I happened to have gone to college there.

The Hunger Games: Just like Linda, I'm not really into "fantasy" books either & I've always had a bias against teen lit for some reason. But this book was just incredible. I think I read it in a day & a half. I couldn't stop & stayed up into the early morning hours to finish it. Believe the hype & for those of you who don't like sci-fi, post-apocalyptic books, please give this a chance. It's so much more than that.

The Little Stranger: This is an excellent take on the gothic novel. Beautiful, eerie, & elegant. We're talking 1940s Britain, sinister presence/haunted house, a family with a sad history which makes for all the elements of an old-fashioned psychological ghost story.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: This is a new take on Sherlock Holmes, where he plays a side character to Mary Russell, a 15 year old woman who becomes his "partner" & helps him solve cases. It is such a fun book & I've read the second in the series too. I'd recommend it for light summer reading - highly entertaining.

Crazy Sexy Diet: Big fan of Kris Carr. Carr shares her vision for a  vegetarian or vegan diet that emphasizes balancing the pH of the body with whole and raw foods, organic green drinks, and smoothies. Additionally, she shares the steps of her own twenty-one-day cleanse, and sample recipes. I don't plan on following her recommendations 100% but picking & choosing the ones that work with my lifestyle & goals. In fact, that was the one thing I really appreciated about this book was Carr's insistence that you can't be perfect & that you shouldn't try to follow everything but adapt it to fit your needs & wants (like if you don't want to go veggie or vegan, then she suggests meatless Mondays).

Hope you enjoyed today's edition & stay tuned for next week's list & another special guest. Have a great weekend & as always, thanks for stopping by. 


Linda said...

I love that we both picked Hunger Games! I just got a text yesterday from a friend I pushed the book on and she told me she finished the first book in two days. I love it.

Will have to check out the books on your list!

Thank you for inviting me to do such a fun post with you.

Anonymous said...

hunger games is so amazing; loved it!

i also loved the immortal life of HeLa too... such a great book

Leesh said...

This was an interesting and fun post. It also gave me suggestions for books to read. I look forward to next Friday's list.

The Hunger Games was awesome! I picked up the book not knowing at all what it was about, I only bought it because two bloggers I follow couldn't stop raving about it.

Have a nice weekend!

Danielle said...

Linda - Thank you! I will definitely check out your books too. Thanks again.

Kathy - Can't wait for the movie, though I'm usually disappointed. Lol.

Leesh - Thanks for stopping by & hope you had a nice weekend too.

Anonymous said...

omg have you seen the new trailer for HG? just came out AND LOOKS SO GOOD. i'm so excited. going to drag Leesh out to see it with me

Danielle said...

Kathy - Yes, I just watched the trailer & I can't wait!

Cbus Singleton said...

I loved The Hunger Games as well.

Up until recently, I also stayed away from young adult literature. However, I just read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in a day. It was great! They are also making a movie of the book. The author is involved, so hopefully it isn't too disappointing.

linda said...

Cbus Singleton,
I LOVED perks of being a wildflower. I read it maybe ten years ago!

I can't wait to tell one of my friends they're making a movie out of it.

Danielle said...

Andrea - I will check that book out too. I put The Family Fang on my Amazon wish list.

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